Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mistakes acknowledged, and one avoided

An innocent man may have been executed, an Austin cop was fired after killing a minority youth, and San Antonio voters rejected tough on crime rhetoric last week at the ballot box.

Did Texas execute an innocent man?
Years after his death at the hands of the state of Texas, Ruben Cantu's accusers have recanted. The special ed student from a tough neighborhood in San Antonio was seventeen with no prior convictions when he was accused of capital murder. He claimed to the end he was "framed." Now it appears he was right. Read the fantastic investigative piece by the Houston Chronicle's Lise Olson, via Doc Berman. UPDATE: Here's part two, published Monday.

Austin PD fires Rocha's killer.
Austin police chief Stan Knee fired Officer Julie Schroeder, who shot and killed an unarmed youth named Daniel Rocha earlier this year. Knee called the death "avoidable." The decision came after the Austin Statesman revealed the usually secret recommendations of Austin's civilian review panel (which asked that Schroeder be fired). The Statesman's coverage of the Rocha case has been especially strong; they deserve a lot of credit for forcing city officials to closely examine the issue.

San Antonio voters say 'no' to more crime spending.
While I was out of town, SA voters overwhelmingly rejected a new "crime prevention and control district" -- essentially a new taxing district authorized to levy a sales tax to hire more cops. I hear lots of politicians say voters demand they be "tough on crime." More and more, though, I notice that when voters are told that choice has a price tag -- in this case, a new sales tax -- they often decide they aren't interested.


thehim said...

I guess it was just a matter of time until we figured out that Texas has wrongly sent someone to die. With the amount of carelessness in the system, I shouldn't be surprised...

TCADP said...

The Ruben case and the Chronicle article is getting significant coverage in the blogging world. Unfortunately, the title of the story should probably read, as Steve Hall's blog suggests, "Did Texas Execute (Another) Innocent Man?"